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Douglas Furber

Lyricist, Composer, Writer, Performer

(1885 - 1961)

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Douglas Furber enjoyed his first songwriting success with A. Emmett Adams, an Australian composer whom he met in Southampton in 1914. Their composition “The Bells of St. Mary’s” (1917) was not initially well-received in Britain but became a hit in the U.S. and was revived as the title of a highly popular Bing Crosby film in 1945. In 1922 his collaboration with Philip Braham produced “Limehouse Blues,” another hit that enjoyed popularity first in America. Throughout the 1920s he contributed music and lyrics to a number of revues, including Andre Charlot’s Revue of 1924 (which introduced “Limehouse Blues” and in which Furber performed) and Charlot’s Revue (1926) which contained several of his song lyrics.

In conjunction with L. Arthur Rose, Furber wrote the book and lyrics for a Noel Gay musical entitled Me and My Girl which was first presented in London in 1937. The big hit of the show was “The Lambeth Walk,” a jaunty “walking dance” that memorialized an area in England famed for its street markets. The song even spent eight weeks in third place on America’s “Hit Parade” in 1938. With a revised book and updated lyrics, Me and My Girl opened on Broadway in 1986 and ran for three years, earning two Tony nominations for best score and best book (edited by Stephen Fry).

Throughout his career Furber contributed to several films and stage shows in a variety of ways: writing the book, the screenplay, the lyrics or the music. Battling Butler, an early musical comedy with Furber’s lyrics and Braham’s music, was adapted in 1926 for a Buster Keaton film. And Furber continued to collaborate as a lyricist with a variety of composers, including Johnny Green (“Oceans of Time” 1933) and Ray Noble (“I Think I Can” 1934).

- Sandra Burlingame

Lambeth Walk-War Show

Various Artists

Me And My Girl: The Lambeth Walk Musical (1985 London Revival Cast)

Noel Gay, L. Arthur Rose, Douglas Furber

Limehouse Blues

Grappelli / Kessel

Limehouse Blues

Glen Gray & the Casa Loma Orchestra
Reading and Viewing

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Arthur Rose, Douglas Furber, Noel Gay, Stephen Fry, Mike Ockrent

Me and My Girl

Samuel French Ltd

(Acting Edition)

Douglas Furber, George Posford

Three Wishes "The Good Companions" (Cover Photo: Jessie Matthews)


Douglas Furber, A. Emmett Adams

The Bells of St. Mary's

Chappell Music

Philip (music) - Furber, Douglas (Lyrics) Braham

Limehouse Blues (Introduced in Andre Charlot's Revue of 1924 )


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